Tevar Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film | UA | Action, Comedy
Tevar never really manages to rise above its so-stale-it-smells formula. Bajpayee gives a threatening and towering performance, but he cannot make up for the mediocre music, run-of-the-mill action and a particularly poor last half hour.
Jan 9, 2015 By Piyush Chopra

Every year, we get a dozen or so brainless action films that are as entertaining as getting run over by a car. In these films, everything goes in the name of commercial entertainment. But you're not upset about that, because you know that regardless of these unnecessary elements, it would've been a terrible movie. Every now and then, though, you get a movie that is frustrating to watch because you know it had the potential to be better.

Tevar, this week's exercise in bone-crunching and item numbers, is one of those latter films, the kind that would've been better off without aiming for crowd-pleasing tactics.

The film follows Pintoo (Arjun Kapoor), a kabaddi player who wins matches singlehandedly, beats up more hoodlums than you can count singlehandedly and then sings songs about his bravery from rooftops. He also doesn't allow guys on the street to lech after women, unless he's doing so himself with a scantily clad dancer at a wedding, in which case it's all cool. Trouble starts brewing when he rescues a woman, Radhika (Sonakshi Sinha), from a local corrupt politician Gajender (Manoj Bajpayee) who's obsessed with her.

The film begins on a low note, with an absolutely bonkers (in the bad sense) kabaddi sequence, followed by Salman Khan-style posturing, followed by an action sequence, followed by a song, followed by an action sequence, followed by an item song. The film only starts to heat up with the introduction of Sinha and Bajpayee's characters, and of his enviable entourage of goons, including a threateningly-named guy called Kakdi.

This is when the film exhibits a surprising amount of dramatic heft, whether it's in Bajpayee's unhinged and murderous antics or in his confrontational scenes with Kapoor. You can tell that rookie director Amit Ravindernath Sharma has a certain flair for drama, and he handles particular sequences with a deftness that maximizes their impact.

But every time the film builds any kind of momentum, there are immeasurable number of roadblocks to slow it down. Songs come and go as they please, middlingly-choreographed action sequences are presented as if they were from The Raid: Redemption, and even though the film refrains itself from indulging in sappy romance for the longest period (a credible achievement), it eventually does give in to the temptation and that leads to more unnecessary songs and action.

With the kind of story line that it has, it is definitely impossible to imagine the film without a certain amount of action to propel the proceedings. But had the writers Sharma and Shantanu Srivastava kept the sheer quantity down, or had director Sharma given it a more sophisticated and less throw-your-money-at-the-screen treatment, the action might not have been the unmitigated downer that it is. The film could've also done with a budget for bullets, since there are a lot of guns around, but they're never really fired.

Regardless, what Sharma and his writing partner do well is that they give the characters the space to play off of each other, and give the secondary characters their little quirks to make them more appealing. The dialogues, by Srivastava, are surprisingly good and have a sort of impish charm to them. Sajid-Wajid's bad run of form continues, with Superman and Joganiyan being the only appealing songs.

Arjun Kapoor, as the small town tough guy with a heart of gold, is as always a little hit-and-miss. He's compelling at times, but amateurish in all of his baby-faced glory during others. Sonakshi Sinha finally gets to exercise her acting chops in an action film, a rare film in which she's given something to contribute, and she reminded me why I loved her so much in Lootera. She gives a finely-honed performance, with both her dramatic and comic timing on display.

The star of the film is Manoj Bajpayee, with a winning performance as a local politician with Obsessive Love Disorder. He breathes fire every time he's on screen, and he manages to win you over even while being constrained by a bit of a one-note character. His decision to do this film was probably a means of making some quick cash, but he actually decides to have some fun while he's at it. Raj Babbar is pretty much at his best as Pintoo's father, a strict-but-softie policeman. Subrat Dutt, as Bajpayee's right-hand, is highly entertaining in an eccentric role.

Tevar never really manages to rise above its so-stale-it-smells formula. Sure, it tries hard to woo you time and again by sending in Bajpayee, who gives a threatening and towering performance. But the mediocre music, the run-of-the-mill action and a particularly poor last half hour are enough to put you off. And with the rising prices of multiplex tickets, you probably shouldn't be selling your 'zewar' to watch Tevar.

Piyush Chopra